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By Taras Kuzio of the University of Alberta

Ukraine’s pre-term parliamentary election on October 26 will elect a new parliament that will be undoubtedly pro-European but the jury is still out if it will lead to long overdue reforms and a strong fight against corruption. Three factors will influence the election results. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Russia widens crackdown on McDonald’s | The latest salvo subjects almost half of the US group’s outlets in Russia to regulatory probes

* Rousseff admits to Petrobras wrongdoing | Brazil’s president looks to put a corruption scandal at the state-owned oil company behind her Continue reading »

By Paul Hodges of International eChem

Two months ago, very few people believed that markets were about to tumble. But on 18 August we published our Great Unwinding analysis. Since then, its forecasts have begun to come true, as the impact of policymaker stimulus begins to unwind.

Oil and commodity prices are falling sharply as supply/demand once again becomes the key driver for prices; the US dollar is strengthening and liquidity is tightening across the world; equity markets risk sharp falls, as investors realise they have overpaid for future growth and rush for the exits; China’s economy is slowing fast as the new leadership implements the World Bank’s ‘China 2030’ plan; interest rates are becoming volatile as some investors seek a ‘safe haven’, while others worry that stimulus policy debt may never be repaid. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Abe weighs tax rise against economy | Japan’s PM says consumption levy would be ‘meaningless’ if it encouraged deflation

* Russia widens crackdown on McDonald’s | The latest salvo subjects almost half of the US group’s outlets in Russia to regulatory probes Continue reading »

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By Amitabh Dubey of Trusted Sources

Elections this week in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana offered the first popular gauge of India’s reformist government since it won its big parliamentary majority in May, and underscored its dominance of Indian politics. But an equally important test has emerged in one of the country’s most troubled sectors, coal, after the Supreme Court’s mass cancellation of captive coal block allocations last month. How Prime Minister Narendra Modi handles the issue will be the first major test of his capacity for reform affecting a vital industry which finds itself in a dire situation. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Moscow and Kiev agree to enforce Ukraine ceasefire | Clear breakthrough to end violence in east of country still elusive

* UN appeals for funds to fight Ebola | Only 1% of $1bn sought for response fund to fight disease raised from countries Continue reading »

By Riccardo Puliti of the EBRD

Until recently the Nabucco pipeline, just like the chorus in Verdi’s opera of the same name, was a symbol of freedom. It was designed as an alternative route for large quantities of natural gas coming into Europe, reducing the continent’s dependency on the Soviet-built pipeline system that runs from East to West.

But the Nabucco dream did not become reality, mainly because it would not transport enough gas to make it viable and especially because Turkmenistan, a big producer of natural gas, was not part of the project. However, this vision of independence could yet live on in another guise – but only if there is the political will to drive it forward. Continue reading »

Stability and bold new reforms after a period of political and economic turmoil will yield Egypt GDP growth of 3.5 per cent in the year to 2015 and 5 to 6 per cent thereafter, according to Renaissance Capital.

Last week, Egypt posted GDP growth of 2.2 per cent for the year to June 2014. That is inadequate for a country with high unemployment and a youthful population. But the GDP figures also hinted at substance behind the hope that has surged through Egypt since President Fattah al-Sisi came to power earlier this year: in the three months to June, GDP rose 3.7 per cent. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* HK police clear protesters in surprise raid | Hundreds of police stage dawn raid to clear Mongkok area of demonstrators

* Russia takes EU to court over sanctions | Rosneft and Arkady Rotenberg launch legal challenges Continue reading »

By Chris Weafer of Macro-Advisory

Since the start of this year the Russian rouble has collapsed by 20 per cent against a basket of dollars and euros, by far the worst performing of the major emerging market currencies except for the Argentine peso. But Argentina defaulted on debt obligations, while Russia has less than 11 per cent sovereign debt to GDP and is running a triple budget, trade and current account surplus. It is therefore tempting to link the rouble’s demise with the country’s actions in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions imposed by western countries. A prevalent theme in many western political commentaries is that the rouble slide, in tandem with the steep oil price fall, will lead to a collapse in the economy which, in turn, will undermine public support for President Vladimir Putin and force the Kremlin into a more accommodating geo-political stance. Both of those assumptions are very wide of the mark. The reasons for the decline in the rouble are more serious than just sanctions and, at the same time, the central bank’s response and the oil price slide offer cause for some optimism that some positives may yet emerge from this crisis. Continue reading »

By Andrey Petrushinin of the Central European Aluminum Company

In a guest post published here on October 10, Milo Dukanovic, Montenegro’s prime minister, asserts that his country is “proving its commitment to Euro-Atlantic values”. This would be funny if it were not so tragically ironic. It seems that Dukanovic is desperately scrambling to make the best of his recent bad scorecard from the European Commission. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Missing climbers hits 85 in Nepal storms | Area lashed by heavy rain storms triggering mountain blizzards

* China Plenum to focus on rule of law | Officials are gathering for next week’s Plenum but investigators still answer to higher authority Continue reading »

With GDP growth in China slumping to a five-year low, it’s unsurprising that many fund managers have cut their positions in Chinese equities to less than the weighting suggested by the benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets index.

But if you are an active fund manager, how strong a position have you taken by going underweight if all the other fund managers are underweight, too? Continue reading »

As if to add substance to complaints from emerging market policymakers about being ignored, a matter mainly affecting middle-income countries became the subject of close global attention only when it emerged as a bone of contention between the US and Europe.

The snappily-titled “investor-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) process, where companies have the right to sue governments for disadvantaging their businesses, has been the subject of deep controversy for years. But since the most vocal discontents were nations like Argentina and Venezuela that complain about more or less everything, it took well-organised campaigning and official German opposition to an ISDS chapter in the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to make it a central concern. Continue reading »

** FT News **

* Global equities rout spreads to Asia | Japan’s Nikkei sinks beneath 15,000 to five-month low

* Isis makes big ‘gains’, says general | International coalition chief Allen says militants advancing in Iraq and Syria Continue reading »